Despite all the film footage, fieldwork and fund-raising, and the efforts of park rangers and conservation NGOs, the number of gorillas continues to plummet. Hunting, logging, mining and disease are taking a terrible toll on the greatest of the great apes, and if things continue as they are, they may be reduced to nothing more than a series of small, highly vulnerable populations within decades.
Aren't 6.6 billion people enough? We can't we leave room for other mammalian species to survive?
Peter Walsh thinks that organizations (e.g. the UN) who advocate for eco-tourism to save the gorillas are dreaming.
"If you try to make saving gorillas a development issue, then you will fail," says Peter Walsh, a leading authority on the abundance and distribution of gorillas. "Any action must focus on protecting the gorillas." Nor is tourism the panacea African governments and potential donors think. "The idea that tourism alone can pay for conservation is a pipe dream," Walsh says. With gorilla numbers falling so fast, it is time to take tough decisions, he argues.
Gorillas (and a number of other species) can't survive unless much larger areas are made into parks with well-enforced boundaries to preserve wild habitats.
A modest proposal to reduce the human population pressures in Africa: bring in free TV with soap operas to change female expectations about when to make babies. Worked (inadvertently) in Brazil.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2009 July 27 11:09 PM Trends Habitat Loss|